Player name: Michael Barlow
Current club: Fremantle
Potential club: Barlow has previously indicated to the media he and his management are working on “Plans A, B, C and D” as he considers his future. It is all but assured that Barlow will not be at the Dockers next year, and originating from Victoria, it would be no surprise to see him return home. With Fremantle an active player in this year’s trade period, Barlow could see himself involved in a multi-club trade.
The original price: Despite training with both St Kilda and Essendon in the 2009 pre-season, it was Fremantle that drafted Barlow with pick 8 in the 2010 Rookie Draft as a mature aged 22 year old.
The Good: Barlow’s ball winning ability is without question, famously breaking the record for possessions by a debutant with 33 in Round 1 of the 2010 season. Despite his horrific leg break in the same year, Barlow bounced back and until 2016, has had a very little amount of injury issues. As well as his capability to accumulate disposals, Barlow has also shown he can be a ball-winning tagger, blanketing Essendon’s David Zaharakis in Round 11 this year, and winning 26 touches for himself.
The Bad: While Barlow has plenty to offer at this level still, there are a few red flags that potential suitors will be wary of. His past two seasons have not been great with inconsistency being a continual issue. Barlow played every game in 2015, but dipped below 25 touches in half of these matches. 2016 was a disaster for Barlow, first falling out of favour and spending time in the WAFL, before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. At 28, Barlow can offer a club four years at the most, which would rule him out of calculations for a rebuilding side.
What his club wants: Fremantle’s priorities this trade period will be locking away Cam McCarthy and Brad Hill, any Barlow deal may be done quite late in the piece – or involved in these trades. The Dockers will hold out for the best offer, with Barlow having no nominated club at this stage to complicate matters. They will likely accept a draft pick in the middle of the second round as opposed to a player – an uncomplicated trade similar to Adelaide moving Bernie Vince to Melbourne in 2013 for Pick 23 could be a scenario that eventuates.
What he’s worth: Fremantle’s valuation and Barlow’s market value will be similar, however Barlow’s demotion to the WAFL and later injury may end up costing Ross Lyon a higher draft pick. Barlow is a ready-made player and will find the transition into his new side’s best 22 a relatively simple process. A first round pick will be too much due to his age, but a selection in the second round is where Barlow’s value sits.
Fremantle don’t currently have a selection in the second round – which could hurt come trade negotiations for McCarthy and Hill. Should Fremantle receive a pick in the second round, this could be used as part of a subsequent trade.
What we’d pay: Pick 22-27
- Western Bulldogs trade their first round pick (15-18) to Fremantle, the Dockers move Barlow and their second selection overall (pick 39) to the Bulldogs.
- Fremantle receive pick 26 from Melbourne for Michael Barlow.
- Collingwood trade pick 25 to Fremantle for Barlow, Fremantle on-trades this pick to Hawthorn for Brad Hill.
The Verdict: With Barlow’s departure from Fremantle the most likely scenario, the Dockers will look to get the most value possible for their proven ball winner. At his best, Barlow is still good enough to be in a team’s best 22 and will be reinvigorated at his new club.
Star rating: 4/5
Ball winners are a valuable commodity, and this combined with his ability to shut down an opposition mid sees Barlow as a potential trade bargain.